Robert Wallace Johnson
(b ca 1943)
During the year 1965/66, we each happened to be part of the same flat-share on the topmost floor of a rather dilapidated terrace of once-prosperous middle-class houses in Redcliffe Gardens, essentially a continuation of the Earls Court Road running down to the Fulham Road. It was a very lively area, with a lot of students and young professionals, and flat-sharing was the most economical way to do it.
Wally was the most organised and methodical person I had ever met, or have met since, and had the most amazing card-index system, whereby a series of knitting-needles thrust though the deck would unerringly locate the very cards (and only them) that you wanted. Pre-computer, pre-internet, pre-Google, but it worked!
He wasn't a workaholic, though, and was most sociable and gregarious – at the stroke of 8:00 pm he'd put his pen down and go off to join his friends at the local. Possessor of a very melodious tenor voice, he'd frequently enliven the breakfast shift with Lennon and McCartney numbers, invariably including his favourite, Yesterday.
He'd been an undergraduate at IC, and was now completing his doctorate in vulcanology there. And like Chris Kendall the year before, Wally applied for a Harkness Fellowship, and got one!
It comes as no surprise to find that he has become a very highly-regarded name in the vulcanology of Australasia; please click here and here for some glimpses of his achievements.